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Anti-Sarkozy demonstrations turn violent

Dozens of cars and rubbish containers were set on fire overnight during protests against Nicolas Sarkozy's win in France's presidential elections.

world Updated: May 07, 2007 09:50 IST

Dozens of cars and rubbish containers were set on fire overnight during protests against Nicolas Sarkozy's win in France's presidential elections, and police fired tear gas and clashed with young people in Bastille Square in Paris.

As about 30,000 Sarkozy supporters rallied in Paris' Place de la Concorde, thousands of his critics demonstrated in Paris, the Paris suburbs, Nancy, Lyon, Metz, Bordeaux, Mulhouse, Nantes, Lille, Toulouse and Marseille.

Shop windows were also shattered in the protests, but wider spread rioting, which had been expected, did not materialise. However, police spoke of a tense atmosphere in Paris' suburbs, where three weeks of riots broke out in late 2005 among ethnic minority communities.

Sarkozy, the conservative former interior minister, won Sunday's runoff, taking 53.06 percent of the vote against Socialist Segolene Royal's 46.94 per cent, according to preliminary official results. It was the third presidential election defeat for the Socialist Party in a row.

Sarkozy's supporters celebrated his victory late into the night on the Champs Elysees and with a concert on the Place de la Concorde.

Earlier, many prominent personalities had assembled around the man who is to replace Jacques Chirac on May 16, including rocker Johnny Hallyday, actor Jean Reno and philosopher Andre Glucksmann.